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Identification and Authentication (IA) is the process of verifying the identity of a user, process, or device, through the use of specific credentials (e.g., passwords, tokens, biometrics), as a prerequisite for granting access to resources in an IT system.
The result of this authentication process then becomes the basis for permitting or denying further actions (e.g., when an automatic teller machine asks for a PIN). Based on the authentication determination, the system may or may not allow the potential user access to its resources.